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Victoria Yau: “I slept in the mountain cloud”

Wed April 24th 2024, 12:00am - Thu October 31st 2024, 12:00am
Event Sponsor
Stanford Libraries, the East Asia Library, and the Center for East Asian Studies
Lathrop Library, East Asia Library, 2nd floor
518 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305


Victoria Yau: “I slept in the mountain cloud” 

Sponsored by Stanford Libraries, the East Asia Library, and the Center for East Asian Studies. Organized and guest curated by Beryl Zhou, graduate student, Center for East Asian Studies, and Ellen Huang, Ph.D, distinguished practitioner at the Center for East Asian Studies and associate professor of art history and material culture at ArtCenter College of Design.

Shanghai-born artist Victoria Yau (1939–2023) created around 300 works of abstract ink paintings, watercolors, multimedia collages, prints, and textiles after she moved to the United States from Taipei. These artworks, spanning nearly half a century of art-making in Chicago, New York and the Southwest, testify to her commitment to abstraction and investment in material experimentation. Featuring a selection of works in a range of media—and complemented by the artist’s own writings, collections, and poetry—this exhibition asks viewers to consider the transformation of East Asian landscape painting from compositional structure into abbreviated form emphasizing texture and line. Gathered together here for the first time since her passing, the works and texts on display explore how Yau negotiated disparate experiences of geopolitical flux, immigration, and physical struggle throughout her seventy-year career. Modern in their simplicity but complex in their historical and international references, Victoria Yau’s mountain clouds, her own poetic reworking of the historical term for landscape painting, “mountain-water 山水,” signal the intricacies of international contemporary art through the vantage of an Asian diasporic woman artist.